Lupus vs Rheumatoid Arthritis: Difference and Comparison

Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are autoimmune diseases that are caused when a person’s immune system accidentally attacks his own body.

Both have several overlapping characteristics, making it difficult for people to tell them apart. Moreover, since no tests can diagnose the two, inferring the disease through its symptoms can be quite an arduous task.

Key Takeaways

  1. Lupus affects various organs, whereas rheumatoid arthritis primarily targets the joints.
  2. Doctors diagnose lupus through blood tests and clinical criteria, while rheumatoid arthritis relies on blood tests and physical examination.
  3. Treatment for lupus involves managing symptoms, while rheumatoid arthritis focuses on reducing inflammation and preventing joint damage.

Lupus vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affect the patient’s joints, organs and skin that cause swelling or stiffness. In severe cases, it can cause loss of memory, kidney failure or joint deformities. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affect only patient’s joints. It causes weakness, inflammation or joint deformity. In severe cases, it causes a stroke or heart failure.  

Lupus vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lupus is often described as a disease in which the immune system attacks the healthy tissues of an individual. This causes several injuries and damage to various body parts.

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The disease has no cure, but its symptoms can be treated. Women are nine times more likely to be affected by lupus than men.

Rheumatoid arthritis is another disease that is very similar to lupus; however, unlike lupus, rheumatoid arthritis only affects the joints of a diagnosed person.

Smaller joints like the fingers, hands and feet are more likely to be harmed because of the condition. Like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis has no cure but has treatable symptoms. Also, women are twice as likely to be affected by it than men.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLupusRheumatoid Arthritis
AffectsLupus affects the joints, internal organs, and skin of the patient.Rheumatoid arthritis only affects the joints of the patients.
SymptomsCommon symptoms of lupus include skin rashes, pain, swelling, and stiffness.Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include inflammation, weakness, deformed joints, and joint stiffness.
Oral MicrobiomesLupus may be affected by the local oral microenvironment of the patient.Rheumatoid arthritis causes alterations in the oral microenvironment of the patient.
ComplicationLupus may cause complications such as skin scarring, joint deformities, and kidney failure.Rheumatoid arthritis may cause complications such as depression, heart failure and strokes.
Severe CasesIn severe cases, lupus can affect the brain and cause memory loss.In severe cases, rheumatoid arthritis makes maintaining range of motion and mobility hard.

What is Lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease which means that a person’s immune system accidentally attacks the tissues and organs. This causes various injuries and internal damage.

The disease affects different parts of the body, including the joints, skin, blood cells, kidneys, heart, lungs and even the brain. The origins and causes of lupus remain unknown; however, there may be a role of genes that make a person more prone to it.

Lupus symptoms often mimic those of other diseases, making it hard to diagnose it.

However, some distinctive ailments of lupus include rashes under the cheek and on the nose, fatigue, fever, joint pain, chest pain, dry eyes, headaches, confusion, and memory loss.

Complications caused by the disease may lead to skin scarring, joint deformities and even kidney failure.

As of now, there is no cure for lupus. However, medical professionals aim to treat the symptoms of the disease to minimize the patient’s trouble. Doctors check a person’s complete blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation to diagnose lupus.

In addition to this, they carry out kidney and liver assessments, urine tests and antinuclear antibody tests. Treatments for lupus include changes in the lifestyle and diet of the patient as well as sun protection.

Medications, including anti-inflammatories and steroids, are also used.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects a patient’s joints. It affects the lining of the joints, leading to painful swelling, bone erosion and even joint deformities.

Some common signs of rheumatoid arthritis in a patient include weakness, fatigue, morning stiffness, swollen joints, fever, and loss of appetite.

Further complications may even lead to depression, heart failure and strokes. In severe cases, the patient loses the ability to maintain a stable range of motion and mobility.

The disease affects smaller joints in the initial stages, such as the fingers, hands, and feet. Later, it begins to spread to other joints in the body, including the wrists, knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders, and hips.

Most of the time, the symptoms affect both sides of the body. However, they may be seen on just one side in some cases.

The origins and causes of rheumatoid arthritis are unknown. However, some risk factors include a person’s sex, age, family history, excess weight and even smoking.

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis however, its symptoms can be managed in several ways. The main aim of doctors while doing so is to control inflammation, ease pain and reduce disability.

Medications, including NSAIDs and DMARDs, are often used for doing so. In severe cases, joint surgery is performed for joint damage.

rheumatoid arthritis

Main Differences Between Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis

  1. Lupus affects the patient’s joints, internal organs, and skin, while rheumatoid arthritis only affects the joints.
  2. Common symptoms of lupus include skin rashes, pain and swelling, while those of rheumatoid arthritis include inflammation, weakness, and fatigue.
  3. Lupus may be affected by the local oral microenvironment of a patient, while rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to cause alteration in it.
  4. Lupus may cause complications such as skin scarring, joint deformities, and kidney failure, while those caused by rheumatoid arthritis include depression, heart failure and strokes.
  5. In severe cases, lupus causes memory loss, while rheumatoid arthritis makes it hard to maintain range of motion and mobility.
Difference Between Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis
References
  1. https://europepmc.org/article/med/16734120
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00109-012-0907-y.pdf
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